ThursdayFiled under Reviews (Eats)
When Leyla Kılıç Karakaynak opened up a tiny restaurant on Kallavi Street in Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district in 1996, she couldn’t have predicted that she would end up practically running the whole street.
That small restaurant, Fıccın, is now spread across six buildings on the same block-long pedestrian-only street and has become an Istanbul institution. The restaurant shares its name with its signature dish, a meat-filled savory pastry that is among the Circassian specialties on the menu. Karakaynak’s family hails from North Ossetia, and while Fıccın serves up a number of classic Turkish staples, it’s the regional dishes that you can’t miss, including Çerkez tavuğu, a simple yet sumptous paste of shredded chicken and walnuts, and Çerkes mantısı, comforting, pillowy dumplings served under yogurt.
Kallavi Street on a nice Friday evening is teeming with guests sitting indoors and streetside in Fıccın’s string of restaurants, though the vibe of the narrow alleyway was entirely different when Karakaynak first set up shop 20 years ago.
Read the rest of the story at Culinary Backstreets.
All entries filed under this archive
no responses - Posted 02.14.17
Convincing someone to accompany you to Istanbul’s Pendik district is no small feat. The Asian-side suburb is located in the far eastern reaches of the city, a trip of at least an hour and a half from the city center requiring no less than three metros and a cab. We've ...continue
no responses - Posted 01.02.17
On our way to dinner one Friday evening, we hopped in a cab headed for Tarlabaşı, a rather infamous neighborhood in the dead center of Istanbul in which many people still refuse to set foot. The area was a longtime hotbed of Greek and Armenian artisans and tradesmen, once the backbone ...continue
no responses - Posted 12.12.16
Until recently, Istanbul had been hosting increasingly more foreigners, who found themselves easily enchanted by the city and its spectacular location between three waterways. It had also gained well-deserved and long-due recognition for its vibrant food scene, which represents every corner of Turkey. Entire streets are devoted to the culinary ...continue
5 responses - Posted 12.11.15
In the great multicultural Anatolian kitchen, questions about the ethnic or national origins of foods are often cause for forks and knives to fly. A porridge called keşkek is a hot-button diplomatic issue between Turkey and Armenia, and we won’t even get started on the ongoing baklava debate. So what ...continue
no responses - Posted 11.30.15
Büyükada has long been a popular destination for İstanbullus seeking a break from harried metropolitan life. With its array of quaint köşkler (Ottoman-era wooden mansions), walkable woods and relative quiet (automobiles are prohibited, so there’s none of the modern world’s ubiquitous, underlying machine hum), this five-square-kilometer island, about an hour’s ferry ...continue
no responses - Posted 10.29.15
On any given night, bustling, narrow Nevizade Street in the heart of Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district buzzes with thick crowds of evening revelers searching for the best table while clean-shaven waiters in their customary uniform of pressed white shirts and V-neck sweaters attempt to lure the crowds into their establishments. Hyperactive as ...continue
no responses - Posted 02.10.15
The fatty torik – the Turkish name for a large, mature Atlantic bonito, similar to the little tunny – courses the straits of the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles for just a short period each year in November and December. Yet the people of Istanbul eat it year-round by preserving the ...continue
no responses - Posted 05.29.14
The departure of Aret, our favorite garson in the city, had us reconsidering our love of this little cubbyhole meyhane where we've spent so many nights over the years. With our loyalty to Aret and his to us, would it not be cheating to return to Çukur when Aret now runs his own place just a ...continue
no responses - Posted 03.29.14
Editor’s note: In the inaugural post of our new recurring feature, First Stop, we ask Chef Ana Sortun of the much-beloved restaurant Oleana and bakery Sofra in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she heads first for food when she arrives in Istanbul. Sortun received the James Beard Foundation’s award for “Best Chef Northeast” in ...continue
1 response - Posted 07.22.13
On a night out in Istanbul, we often find ourselves forced to make sacrifices in one or more categories of the overall dining experience. Great food at reasonable prices will surely be laid out in a room decorated in Anatolian kitsch. Bosphorus views and contemporary furnishings are a license to ...continue